The Black Budget

Screen shot 2013-08-29 at 2.50.28 PMThe Washington Post just published an excellent package on the FY2013 Black Budget for intelligence. I’m reading through the summary now.

I’ll put working comments below. But one of my first impressions is that all of this is useful information, and in some ways really encouraging information (in others, horrifying).

For that reason, this is one of my favorite parts of the story itself:

Lee Hamilton, an Indiana Democrat who was a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and co-chairman of the commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, said that access to budget figures has the potential to enable an informed public debate on intelligence spending for the first time, much as Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance programs brought attention to operations that had assembled data on nearly every U.S. citizen.

“Much of the work that the intelligence community does has a profound impact on the life of ordinary Americans, and they ought not to be excluded from the process,” he said.

“Nobody is arguing that we should be so transparent as to create dangers for the country,” he said. But, he said, “there is a mindset in the national security community — leave it to us, we can handle it, the American people have to trust us. They carry it to quite an extraordinary length so that they have resisted over a period of decades transparency. . . . The burden of persuasion as to keeping something secret should be on the intelligence community, the burden should not be on the American public.”

Hamilton is absolutely right. There’s no reason why information at this level of detail shouldn’t be shared with American taxpayers ponying up the $52.6 billion to pay for it all.


Working comments on Budget Justifications

4: The IC is apparently going to start researching trade disputes. I assume that’ll be primarily targeted at China. But it’s an interesting development.

 

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bmaz The last actual politician I ever saw give a damn about the outrageous+illegal PACER charges was Gelatinous Joe Lieberman, and he quit.
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bmaz In light of OUTRAGEOUS page access fee, this is bullshit---> Federal Court Cases Removed from PACER http://t.co/6IcIw35lyn via @townnews
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bmaz Well, this is some Grade A bullshit RT @kimmurphy Tsarnaev sister arrested for making a bomb threat. http://t.co/eVns3Que6D
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emptywheel When was the last time a hack that was so vaguely defined get publicized by the FBI so obviously?
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emptywheel Mom & spouse comparing notes abt programming in 1962. Both agree cybersecurity czar should know how to code.
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emptywheel RT @chinahand: @JeffSharlet @Antiwar2 pre-Internet the mainstream press had oligopoly power over stories & reporters & they squandered it o…
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emptywheel @MatPDouglas Of course not! But you WILL see dudes John McCain recently palled up with being accused of war crimes. Happens a lot lately.
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emptywheel Everytime I see a John McCain pic now, I wonder, "Will we be at war w/this dude for crimes against humanity in 6 months."
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emptywheel He's now demanding more justification for withholding Abu Ghraib torture pics. https://t.co/vA6olhNeoR
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emptywheel In 2009 Judge Hellerstein went to some length (unsuccessfully) to force Exec to admit torture was done on POTUS authorization.
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emptywheel RT @ddayen: David Chase just told me "whether that's really Jamie Dimon's Twitter account is besides the point."
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